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10 Sep, 2023 12:58

Moscow not impeding African dialogue with West – Lavrov

The continent is open to negotiations, but it does not like to be told what to do, Russia’s foreign minister has said
Moscow not impeding African dialogue with West – Lavrov

Neither Moscow nor Beijing is trying to deter African countries from talking to the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, explaining that if Western nations want to improve relations with the continent, they should shed their colonial mindset first.

Speaking to reporters at the G20 summit in India on Sunday, Lavrov was asked by RT’s Maria Finoshina whether the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping from the meeting had cleared the way for Western countries to forge ahead with building closer ties with Africa.

The Russian foreign minister responded that if the West wants to improve relations with the continent, “it should first get rid of its colonial habits,” stressing that neither of the two leaders was hindering the dialogue.

Lavrov stressed that African countries are open to talks, but cautioned the West that if it ignores their “pressing needs” while reducing dialogue to “patting on the back,” all its rapprochement efforts will go down the drain.

He added that African countries seek technology from the West, and do not want to provide it with raw materials only to see developed countries make fortunes selling high value-added goods while refusing to share the profits.

“We are in no way hindering anyone in terms of communication. It is the West that is running all over the world and demanding that no one meet with Russia,” Lavrov said, claiming that those efforts have not paid off.

The West demands: ‘Do as I told you.’ Nobody likes that. [Vladimir] Putin and Xi Jinping have nothing to do with that. The West should look in the mirror.

Lavrov's remarks come after a major Russia-Africa forum in St. Petersburg in July. It was attended by dozens of delegations from the continent and saw the signing of a large number of bilateral and international agreements. At the same time, Moscow accused the West of putting unprecedented pressure on African nations to skip the summit, which it said had failed to produce any significant results.